Associated British Foods pointed to “excellent revenue growth” for Twinings and Ovaltine, as well as improved margins for Jordans Ryvita, as the manufacturing giant posted its latest annual results.

Sales for its grocery business, which includes the Kingsmill and Allinson brands under the aegis of Allied Bakeries, were up 7% to £3.64bn. Profits for the division were up 9% to £249m.

Chief executive George Weston hinted ABF could be interested in a deal for some of the brands owned by debt-laden rival Premier Foods.

“We have noticed there are brands for sale,” he told reporters. “We’ll see.”

Overall sales for the group were up 9% to £11.1bn, with operating profits up 1% to £835m, boosted by a strong performance from its sugar business. However, that was partially offset by a rare dent in profitability of its Primark retail business, which faced higher raw materials costs.

“These results reflect another year of progress for the group,” said Weston.

“Operating profit improved as our businesses overcame the challenges of high commodity cost inflation and weaker consumer demand. Further substantial investment saw the completion of a number of major capital projects and a sizeable increase in the Primark estate.”

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Associated expects profits hike but wheat cost takes toll on Kingsmill margins (13 September 2011)
Promotions warfare hitting Kingsmill margins, says Associated British Foods (14 July 2011)
ABF warns of rising sugar prices (28 February 2011)